Friday, May 23, 2014

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer 2014

Last weekend I completed my 3rd Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Another amazing weekend in Boston with many laughs and tears and memories made to last a lifetime, but I will admit I wasn't looking forward to this weekend as much as I had in the past walks I had done.
Don't get me wrong I still had the drive to fight for the fight against Breast Cancer, I was just nervous because I hadn't trained as much as I probably should of and the weather forecast was calling for lots of rain on both days.

We were 4 members strong this year and most of us started out with money we had saved up from last year. Because we felt so secure with our funds we only held a few fundraisers. We did t-shirt sales, the Marden's bake sale and the popular Ta Ta Trot.

I designed the shirts this year. We had long sleeve, short sleeve and tanks to choose from.

In February we froze our butts off at our annual bake sale. But we had lots of yummy treats to warm people's hearts. We passed the time by keeping track of how many people tried to go 'in' the 'out' door. And we got a couple plugs on the radio by the Kid on Z107.3!!! We repayed him for the on-air mentions by bringing him some goodies. We were hoping we'd get some sales while in the clear channel host building, but no such luck.

We should have taken it as a warning from mother nature at the Ta-Ta Trot as an indication of what we were in for at the Avon Walk as the weather seemed very similar.
None the less though we still had a pretty good turnout on the cold, rainy day in Belfast during the month of March.

Shortly before the Ta-Ta Trot we got a call from our friend and past Avon Walker Alumni, Tessa Hastings, that she along with Caring Connections at the Bangor Y wanted to meet with us to find out some information about the Avon Walk. Apparently, which we had never realized before, Caring Connections get funding from the Avon Foundation, it's small but it's something. They were thinking about coming to Boston with a cheering station and wanted some information from us on if it would be worth it to them. I was unable to attend due to prior engagements, but Arinn, Carissa and Mandie went and had a great time.

May 16th arrived and we began our travel to Boston. We all met at Mandie's house in Belfast and Carissa drove us all to Portland from there where we were schedule to pick up our Michigan girl, Robin, and all of us were to head to Boston together from there.
Shortly after departing Belfast Mandie got a text from Robin saying she was in Chicago and her flight was being delayed for a couple of hours (thanks to the rain that was heading our way for the weekend). Well, we headed to Portland and figured we'd burn off time somehow.
We burned it off by having lunch and beer at Sebago Brewing Company. And cruised around Portland blaring some Salt & Pepa.
We made it to the airport and picked up our beloved Robin and jumped back into Carissa's Toyota and headed to Bean-town. And arrived just in time for 5:00 traffic.

Luckily we had a great driver and made it to event eve on time.

We all got our official walking bracelets, alumni pins and other swag. Robin, Mandie and Arinn signed up for next year's walk. And we got our official "Let the Avon Walk Begin" photo.

Then we headed out on the town to load up on carbs. This year we decided on Emma's Pizza in Cambridge. Yum, yum, yum. And I didn't even break any expensive wine glasses.
We were back in our room by 10:00pm and got ourselves all ready for our weekend.

4am comes real quick and somebody's phone alarm was set to 'fire alarm' mode and we all awoke in a panic thinking we needed to get out of the building.
As we made our way to our van to leave we could hear the rain pounding on the windows of the hotel. My heart was pounding just as hard.
Because of construction going on around the UMass Campus (AKA, Starting line) we had to drop our bags off at one parking lot, park in a different parking lot and walk what felt like a mile to the actual starting line.

After chatting with some other walkers the night before, a lot were recommending flip-flops to help prevent your sneakers from getting soaked. My flip flops were squishy, wet, slippery and very uncomfortable just from our walk from the car. I was not impressed with Mother Nature. At. All!
I couldn't believe how hard it was raining and I wanted to quit already and we hadn't even started.

The opening ceremonies began. I tried focusing on listening to the inspirational stories. Looking around at the strong amazing walkers around me and I said a couple of prayers.
I took a couple of deep breaths and our walk began.
Not even a half a mile into the walk and the rain let up some. I was feeling much better. Carissa and I started off walking together and we got split up from Mandie and Arinn early. We were getting very amused by seeing how everyone was attempting to keep their sneakers and clothes dry. Let's just say I'm sure Ziplock's stock went up that weekend.

Shortly before that video, we had stopped at a crosswalk and I decided to check my feet as I could slightly feel some rubbing. Good thing I checked because as I took my Sandals off there was blood. Oh they were rubbing alright. Since we wanted to keep moving, Carissa just gave me some big bandaids and wrap until I could switch to my sneakers.

At the 5 mile mark we stopped at a Rest Stop and switched walking attire and waited for our teammates.  We filled our water bottles, voided our bladders, got some protein snacks and strutted on.

We walked through the beautiful North End where I craved Mike's Patries. We walked past Fenway where I started to crash and almost jumped on a Duck Tour bus.
One rule that the Avon Walk has for all walkers and the motorcycle crew is sure to enforce is no talking on the phone. Mandie got caught at one point talking to Ben. The enforcer took the phone right out of her hand and started talking to Ben and explained to him why she shouldn't be talking and walking at the same time.

Back at mile 4 Carissa and I saw a lady walk past us and her bib said "I'm walking for myself". It caught our attention and we kept seeing her and we were curious to hear her story. Carissa was able to catch up with her later on and hear her story. Maybe Carissa will comment here to tell us what she said.

Arinn did get on a sweep van a little before mile 12 and Mandie took over the flip cam. (Which is good because she looks way cuter than I do on these videos, must be those dimples.)

We met up with Arinn at Lunch which is also half-way mark of the Day 1 walk. I spent most of the walk talking with Darric who was now in the area and trying to find us. We needed to get going so we decided to meet up with him later.

It was around mile 14 that I got my boost of energy from a maroon van full of familiar faces. Darric, his mom and the kids pulled up on the side of the road and we said hi, gave quick hugs and were on our way again.
My legs were starting to cramp up pretty bad around mile 20 and took some more Advil at mile 21.

Don't tell anyone, but we did get on a sweep van shortly after and rode to the final rest stop. After I drained my bladder and had some peanut butter I perked back up (a little). And then we were on our way. We hit mile 24 and I decided it was time to do my yearly sing to others while walking tradition. I'm not going to post it and show you how awful of a singer I am, and you can't see it if you go to youtube and search for….or whatev, I'll post it. You're welcome Mandie.

There's a giant, long hill that I HATE, HATE, HATE every year. This year was no different, but I'll remember it most this year because it's where Mandie crashed hard and got real delirious. I was worried about her, but she eventually came around.
We turned the finally street corner and made the final stretch to Reebox headquarters where I had the best reunion.

That was the moment I'll remember the most from the whole walk, from all my walks actually.

Then you'd think that we'd get to stop walking at this point and be waited on hand and foot. HA!!! We then have to walk to shlep our bags to our tent, Darric brought us pizza and he wasn't allowed to drive inside the area so we had to walk back out to the entrance to get the pizza and then walk back in. We walked into the dining area to eat, walked back to our tents, walked to the shower trucks which are at the other end of the lot, walk back to our tents, and on and on and on. So, I'd say we made up for jumping on the van earlier in the day.
Good night from the Holy Walkamoles
Day 2

There's something about walking 26 miles in one day that makes you sleep so good, even on a cold hard ground. We were woken up to the sound of a bird chirping and chirping and chirping and chirping.
A nice breakfast, we packed up, and then Mandie need to re-tape her blisters. We didn't get to start with the rest of the walkers, but we weren't the last and still had a good send off.

The Banana didn't last long and before we knew it we were at Mile 1/27
We started off with a good pace and then made it to my 4 in no time. All of us were sticking together as a team and helping each other along.

"Walk-By Selfies" or "Selfie of a Selfie"

This was my 3rd Avon Walk. I'd seen the sights, I'd remembered the pain in my legs and feet, I was so ready to be done. I so wanted to give up at lots of points, more than I had previously. But I just kept focusing on the reason I was walking. I kept focusing on reading other walkers bibs. 
This woman had a Psalm on her bib that caught my attention and stuck with me for the rest of the walk.  "She has no fear of bad news, her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."

These women in the blue van seemed to drive by at just the right moment. They had a giant speaker mounted on top of their van with great music pumping out of it and they were singing and cheering us on loud and clear.
Then there was this car. No comments needed for this.
And we entertained ourselves by dancing…
Nothing much exciting happened the rest of the walk, except my very good friend Kelli met us after mile 12 again this year. Which is totally awesome and I love her so much for being there.
Kelli walked with us the last mile and we caught up and it made that last mile go by so fast and before we knew it were were at the finish.

And then we turned the corner to make our way to the official finish line and there was family.

Another year of doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and I continued to learn things about myself, including that if I don't train enough for the walk then I definitely notice a difference. But I also learned that I could push myself even more than I ever had before. Through the rain, through the blood, and through the pain. 

Another year in the books. Another 39.3 miles walked (mostly). More money raised to help fight Breast Cancer. We continue to educate, inspire and motivate others. The Holy Walkamoles are In It to End It.

Thank you again to all of my faithful supporters. Whether you bought a shirt, baked for our bake sale, had me take your photos or just donated to me personally. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, it is truly appreciated. You all keep me going.

If you would like to see more videos of our 2014 Avon Walk, click here.
If you would like to follow Holy Walkamoles on Facebook, click here.
I haven't signed up for next year yet, the plan is NY. Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Mandie said...

YOU are clothed in strength and beauty! And I love you! Thank you for posting all this and especially for the SUPER WOMAN part. So funny!!! xoxox